1640s, fort, from French fort "strong point (of a sword blade)," earlier "fort, fortress" (see fort). Meaning "strong point of a person, that in which one excels," is from 1680s. Final -e- added 18c. in imitation of Italian forte "strong."
music instruction, "loud, loudly," from Italian forte, literally "strong," from Latin fortis "strong" (see fort). Opposed to piano.
updated on December 07, 2020